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The storm morphed into a "bomb cyclone" late Friday morning when it underwent so-called bombogenesis, signaled by an extreme drop in atmospheric pressure. Image: NASA/Twitter

The storm morphed into a “bomb cyclone” late Friday morning when it underwent so-called bombogenesis, signaled by an extreme drop in atmospheric pressure. Image: NASA/Twitter


The Inertia

Unless you’ve been living in a cement bunker with your eyes closed for the last few days, you’re aware of nor’easter that been smashing the Northeast for the last few days. One million people without power. More than 3,000 flights cancelled. At least five people are dead. Kayakers paddling down Boston streets, and 22 million people under a coastal flooding warning. There is, however, a very small silver lining: surf. The “biggest swell of the year” is on its way.

As of Saturday morning, the storm is sitting off the Maritimes in the Canadian Atlantic. As the week progresses, it is expected to weaken and move slowly, which, according to Surfline forecasters, “will allow very large swell to develop, providing multiple days worth of well overhead to double overhead surf that radiates to many areas on the East Coast and in the Caribbean… Current model forecast swell heights are staggering—15′ at 15secs off the Outer Banks, 14′ at 16secs off Florida, and 16′ at 16secs off Puerto Rico.”

There is an issue, however—the first half of the week will likely be filled with powerful winds from the northwest, which can be a bit of a death knell for many spots in the Western Caribbean. As the storm dies, though, the winds die with it and condition are likely to turn all-time.

According to CNN meteorologists, things aren’t going to get better for East Coast residents all that quickly.”With the moon full, the tide is at its highest point of the month, and the storm surge could drive as much as four feet of water into coastal neighborhoods, they said. “Massachusetts emergency officials said tides ‘will be astronomically high’ in the next few days. Boston Harbor, which has only seen tides above 15 feet twice — in 1978 and in January, during the last bomb cyclone — might see the tide at that level when high tides occur late Friday night and late Saturday morning.”

The swell is expected to last for days, and even early in the week, there are going to be windows of favorable conditions. As is often the case with surfing, it’s going to be all about local knowledge.